Risk in UK lockdown easing too soon: Scientists

The "London Eye" and Westminster Pier are seen quiet in London, Britain.

London, (Asian independent) Scientific advisers to the UK government have warned of the risk of lifting the lockdown in England, as the country begins the final weekend before rules change amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it was reported on Saturday.

Starting from Monday, more than two people will be able to meet outside and schools in England will also reopen to some pupils, the BBC reported.

Police have urged people not to break social distancing rules this weekend.

Responding to the developments, Professor John Edmunds, from the London School of Tropical Hygiene and Medicine and also a member of Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said it was a “political decision” to ease measures, adding that the levels of coronavirus were still “very high”.

Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of Sage, said in a tweet that COVID-19 is “spreading too fast to lift lockdown in England” and NHS test and trace “has to be fully working and infection rates have to be lower”.

Speaking to the BBC, Professor Peter Horby, who sits on Sage and chairs its NERVTAG subcommittee, said it was important we “don’t lose control”.

Professor Sally Bloomfield, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that people should not hear the advice and decide to have a barbecue as social distancing only helped prevent transmission in the air and the virus could be present on bottles, cutlery and other objects.

Epidemiologist Professor Sian Griffiths told the BBC that if scientists were in charge of decisions, lockdown would probably not be eased currently, but she said there were other factors to consider.

The scientists’ remarks come as the number of COVID-19 cases in the UK increased to 272,607 on Saturday, with 38,243 deaths, which accounts for the highest fatalities in Europe.